Making the Band is a television series that was developed by the producers of the MTV reality show, The Real World. Teaming up with pop music guru, Lou Pearlman who was responsible for the birth of such groups as the Backstreet Boys, *NSync, LFO and others, ABC created this weekly series to bring the music world a new group. Every step of the way, cameras would begin to follow the group during rehearsal, recording, chillin' out, and even in the shower!
In March 2000, we witnessed the beginning of the next big group to embark on the music scene. All over the USA, young men ages 18-25 auditioned in various locations such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, and Hawaii to become a part of the "next big thing". In this audition, these young men had to display their singing and dancing abilities but also appeal to the judges which included Lou Pearlman himself among others. There was a certain personality and attitude as well as talent that would win the judges over. Over 1800 auditioned but only 25 were called back. A handful from each audition site were taken to Orlando to participate in a workshop which would help Lou and the team he hired to develop the group and make a decision as to who the final 5 would be.
After 2 days of vocal training and strenuous dancing, the next step was to narrow the finalists down to 8. Although there were 25 very talented individuals, the cut was made and they were: Trevor Penick, Erik-Michael Estrada, Ashley Angel, Paul Martin, Mike Miller, Ikaika Kahoano, Bryan Chan, and Jacob Underwood. These 8 then moved into a house provided by Perlman in Orlando, Florida.
Tears were shed among the finalists not chosen. But the sense of brotherhood that was felt by every person showed how proud everyone was of each other. Friendships were made and the experience of getting that far showed the ones who weren't chosen that they do have a talent and their calling was not to be in this group but to be a part of our lives in another way.
As the 8 finalists moved into their new home, they began working on what would the fate of their lives. More vocal training and learning choreography proved to be a lot harder than the guys expected. After constant reprimands, the boys began to lose faith. But their training staff continued to help them work on their imperfections which helped them to regain their confidence and they soon began to work harder and more as a team.
As the series developed, one of the 8 decided that he wanted to leave and continue his life doing something else, somewhere else. At that time, he did not share with us why he was leaving. But he felt that being there was not the right place for him. Paul Martin left and eventually became a part of a country music group, Marshall Dylon.
Tensions began to arise as there were only 7 finalists left. This made the chances even slimmer for the rest of the guys. But it was back to work they go. Some of the boys were more serious than others. Some thought their natural talent alone would carry them to become a part of this group. The girlfriends of these boys became worried that they would lose their relationships. DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA! But let's talk about the work behind what made these guys get to where they are now.
After recording their first song. "All For Love" and completing the dance routine, the time came to choose the 5 young men that we all know as O-Town. (This name represents the city of Orlando where these boys lived and trained before they were signed to a record deal. They didn't choose it but people would chant O-Town when they were seen in public and so they just stuck with that!) After much deliberation between the vocal coaches, the choreographers, and Pearlman, we witnessed on national TV the most captivating moment of the series. In just minutes, we would be told who would later take the music world by storm. While the guys held hands in a circle, tensions stood clear but they knew that by one man calling out their names would change the entire fate of their lives. So the 5 were called. Ikaika Kahoano, Jacob Underwood, Ashley Angel, Erik-Michael Estrada, and Trevor Penick. We had to say goodbye to Bryan Chan and Mike Miller but only to see them later in the music business.
They now began working on molding the group. But after spending time away from his family and not really knowing if he belonged in the group, Ikaika decided to quit. Even after performing twice with the band and signing contracts, he left to go back to his hometown of Hawaii to be with his girlfriend, family, and complete his studies in the medical field.
Now we are left with 4 members who feel like the perfect group they thought was made is now at a dead end. After some dicussion, the remaining 4 decide they would like to call up one of the 25 finalists to replace Ikaika. His name is Dan Miller. Pearlman made a call out to him and he flew out to learn in 2 days what the rest of then have been training for for months. Dan wowed the guys and the staff and was then asked to be a part of O-Town. He kindly accepted and that is how we have one of the most successful groups of 2001, O-TOWN!
So what happened to Ikaika? He is now in a group called LMNT with other O-Town hopefuls, Mike Miller and Bryan Chan. O-Town is now a double platinum group who is signed to J records and has completed 2 seasons of their show Making the Band with the third one coming in January 2002.